I saw Sublevel Zero at EGX but sadly didn’t get to play it and experience this retro looking game that kind of reminds me of Star Fox 64 graphics on the N64 except it’s set in first person and set in randomly generated maps or mazes. You move in six degrees of freedom which takes a while to get used to so I very quickly put down my controller in favour of my mouse and keyboard as it gave me so much more precision. The game is also virtual reality enabled but sadly I don’t have a Oculus Rift to play it in VR although I would seriously love to give that a go.
The main objective is to shoot your way through the levels killing everything lurking in the nooks and crannies to pop out and give you a salvo of bullets, lasers or missiles. Getting to the core is no easy feat as the maze of rooms and corridors confuse you, destroying it, grabbing the flux drive component and exiting through the wormhole that appears all the while retro 8bit tunes pump out as the soundtrack. Sounds pretty easy, well that where your so wholly wrong.. The levels randomly generate so there’s no getting used it or being able to practice, you have to make every shot count as when your ship blows it’s permadeath, no lives, no saves and no second chances.
It’s a constant uphill (or downhill as it’s sub-level) struggle as the learning curve and difficulty is extreme no matter how many repair kits I ate through by pressing the G Key multiple times, seeing my health bar plummet as I heard the dry click of no more ammo in a tense fire fight only leads to the screen whitening out to the main menu. Each kill is satisfying as each enemy death showers the space it occupied in a mass array of ammo and also Nanites (the games currency for crafting new and exciting weapons and upgrades) and even a wide plectrum of weapons that are also randomly generated.
The holy grail is finding the small little sparkling chests filled with goodies littered around the levels that can literally act as a game changer as a more powerful gun can chew through some of the lower tier enemy’s and spit them out which gives you a massive edge in combat but never ever get to cocky as this game will end you in a heart beat. The furthest I’ve got so far is a few levels in and I wasn’t alive long, the enemy ships, gun turrets are relentless and chase you giving you little breathing space in an already tight tunnel or corridor.
Sublevel Zero is fantastic, it’s hard enough that you want to keep pushing yourself, although after a while it can get frustrating and a bit repetitive but it’s a game you can keep going back to, it’s cheap and hardly takes up any hard drive space, which is a bonus.
Sublevel Zero is a really good experience for anyone who likes the genre or indie games, a multiplayer option would be a great little addition to this game. Some hardcore competitive death match goodness would really test your piloting skills and a co-op mode could enhance the experience so you could both die in spectacular unison. If those options were implemented then Sublevel Zero would have easily score higher.
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